Updated: 5:20 p.m., Aug. 1
Lincoln County authorities on Thursday confirmed that the body of a 2-year-old boy found near a campsite along West Fisher Creek is Aiden Salcido, the son of an Oregon couple found dead in their car July 24 following a police chase south of Whitefish.
Authorities determined the boy died from a gunshot wound to the head.
The boy’s parents, Daniel Salcido, 21, and Hannah Janiak, 24, died in an apparent murder-suicide on July 24 following a brief police chase on U.S. Highway 93 between Kalispell and Whitefish. Their 2-year-old son was not present in the car. On July 26, law enforcement in Montana and Oregon, where the three people lived, asked the public’s help in finding the missing young boy.
That same day, authorities received a tip that the green GMC Jimmy SUV involved in the murder-suicide had recently been spotted in the West Fisher Creek area. On July 27, detectives from the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and the Medford Police Department from Oregon, where the family lived, as well as a canine team from David Thompson Search and Rescue, searched an abandoned campsite in the area. Late in the day, a toddler’s body was discovered a short distance from the campsite.
In June, Daniel Salcido, Hannah Janiak and Aiden Salcido were reported missing by family members in Oregon. Detectives reviewed Janiak’s financial records and found that she last used her bankcard at a department store in Medford. Surveillance footage from the store shows all three people purchasing camping equipment together.
Where exactly Salcido and Janiak and their 2-year-old son went for the next six weeks is unknown. However, according to Lincoln County Sheriff Darren Short, multiple witnesses reported seeing Daniel Salcido and Hannah Janiak in the West Fisher Creek area in early July, meaning they could have been in Montana for three or four weeks before the incident along U.S. Highway 93.
On July 24, at approximately 9:45 p.m., a Kalispell police officer pulled over a green GMC Jimmy SUV for a broken headlight near the intersection of Highway 93 and West Reserve Drive. Salcido and Janiak were the only two people in the car.
Salcido and Janiak gave the officer false information about their identities. Soon after, they fled the scene and a chase ensued.
Flathead County Sheriff’s Office deputies deployed a spike strip near Happy Valley that deflated the fleeing vehicle’s tires. The vehicle then went into the ditch. After several attempts to get the occupants to surrender, officers approached the vehicle where they found both people dead from apparent gunshot wounds.
According to evidence in the vehicle, Salcido shot Janiak in the head before turning the gun on himself.
Flathead County Sheriff Brian Heino said it is unclear why Salcido and Janiak had come to Montana.
According to the Medford Police Department, Salcido and Janiak were homeless and would often live out of their car. Although family members went to police in June with concerns about the whereabouts of the three people, Sgt. Steve Furst with the Medford Police Department said it was not uncommon for them to move around. Medford police had dealt with Salcido and Janiak off and on over the years, and the couple would frequently camp in a local recreational area. Janiak was known to have mental health issues.
According to law enforcement, Salcido and Janiak were convicted of multiple felonies following a 2018 burglary. The Oregonian reports that the couple stole weapons and $10,000 worth of precious metals and coins. Warrants were issued for Salcido and Janiak after they failed to appear at court hearings in June.
On Saturday, Heino said police in Oregon and Montana had received dozens of tips and that law enforcement was chasing down every lead. The investigation was complicated by the fact that Salcido and Janiak did not have cell phones or bankcards on them when they were found dead in their car July 24 following a brief police pursuit. Heino said it’s possible the couple had been using cash, meaning it would be hard to track their activity between when they went missing in June and when they turned up again last week.
Furst said law enforcement believes Salcido and Janiak most likely traveled north through Washington and Idaho to Montana, possibly camping out of their car in remote areas.